Romelu Lukaku key for Everton's Europa League dream

The Belgian forward has been one of the competition's key players, and is crucial to Everton's European campaign.

While the Premier League has delivered a poor campaign for Everton, the Europa League has seen them flourish.

Despite being handed a tough group including German outfit Wolfsburg, French side Lille and Russian hopefuls Krasnodar, Everton managed to finish first, with impressive wins over Wolfsburg home and away sticking in the memory.

One player who has enjoyed European competition while somewhat struggling domestically is Romelu Lukaku, who has found the competition to his liking so far.

A hat-trick against Swiss side Young Boys in the last round was his most impressive performance in the competition so far, while last Thursday’s 2-1 win of Dynamo Kiev also saw him leading the line and scoring the winning penalty at the end of the game.

That spot-kick saw him become the competition’s second top scorer with seven, ahead of some bigger names such as Gonzalo Higuain and Demba Ba. Those goals have obviously been key to Everton’s success in the tournament, with the Belgian having contributed 37% of his side’s goals, according to WhoScored.

So far he has seven goals and two assists in his seven games, which stands in stark contrast to his league form, where he has seven goals and three assists in 28 appearances. In that regard then, Europe has proved a happier hunting ground than the Premier League for the 21-year-old.

As the stats show, if Everton are harbouring any ambitions of winning the Europa League, then they sit firmly on the broad shoulders of Lukaku. With their Premier League safety anything but assured, they will hope he can carry that European form into the league as well.

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